People who have a low ovarian reserve or who have experienced early menopause may choose to use an egg donor. Some of the reasons for low oocyte counts, according to Gloria A. Richard-Davis, MD, a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist, infertility specialist and advisor to Alloy, a tele-health company serving women over 40, are:
- Early menopause due to cancer treatment
- Early onset of menopause due to genetics
- Naturally low ovarian reserve of unknown causes
- To be born without ovaries
- Poor egg quality
- To prevent the transmission of known genetic disorders or diseases
It’s also common for LGBTQ + couples to use an egg donor to become parents, especially if they are not physically able to carry a baby (such as a male couple of the same sex), says Angeline Beltsos, managing director, ‘ a clinical and reproductive endocrinologist and CEO of Clinics at the fertility clinic Kindbody. “In a female couple of the same sex, patients can opt for reciprocal IVF, where they can achieve pregnancy by giving one the eggs and the other carrying the baby,” adds dr. Beltsos by.
The use of donor eggs can also be a choice of the parent, rather than a biological necessity – if there are known genetic diseases in a specific family line, donor eggs can help the child to avoid them, explains dr. Beltsos. The use of eggs from a donor who is younger than the egg recipient can help in that case, according to dr. Beltsos. “A younger egg is less likely to make genetic defects when the sperm fertilizes it,” she says.
When donor eggs are used, prospective parents can use a male partner or family member’s sperm to fertilize the egg or select an egg donor in the same way as they would choose a sperm donor, says Dr. Richard-Davis. The donor may also be a friend or female relative of the birth parent who is not related to the sperm donor.
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